Gluten Free Guerrillas

Quinoa – my new favourite ingredient

When you have to live with gluten and wheat intolerance, finding alternatives to bread and pasta is fairly easy. But one of my favourite foods is cous cous and I know that eating too much of this definitely aggravates me. I am just a bit ‘sensitive’ and nothing like as bad as Zac, so I still let myself eat if from time to time and often wish I hadn’t.

I had heard about quinoa and have seen it on the shelves for a while but wasn’t too sure on how to cook it and use it. There is a great definition of it on the BBC Good Food website and it backs up what I had heard – it is a ‘superfood’ and extremely easy to digest. So just what I was looking for. Even though Tom and I don’t share Zac’s problem, we are keen to find ways to eat better ourselves and always looking to try new things.

Then I saw some in Sainsbury’s the other day that was ‘microwave’ in the pack and decided to give it a go. I didn’t want to buy too much or go to any great effort in case we didn’t like it. I am happy to say it was absolutely delicious and I am now going to be looking for more recipes where was can use it in other ways and perhaps entice Zac. He likes rice, so I hope it won’t be too much of a jump for him!

The packet I bought was Red & White Quinoa made by Merchant Gourmet.

I decided to use it as a direct replacement in my favourite ‘with cous cous’ meal. I oven roast some favourite vegetables in olive oil, garlic and pesto, add some chopped smoked sausage and then serve with cous cous on the side or added at the last minute and baked in.

A very easy meal to put together and always tastes delicious. Before it was confirmed that I was also dairy intolerant, I used to add a generous grate of parmesan at the end. Makes it taste wonderful, so for any gluten free but not dairy free people, why not try it with cheese too – you lucky people!

Microwaving the quinoa was even less hassle than cooking the cous cous, so this new ingredient has made this meal even more simple and definitely more delicious. The little grains do have a slightly nutty flavour and a lovely texture. I did not feel at all bloated or uncomfortable afterwards and if anything could

have eaten more.

Here’s what I used and how I made it.

Extra virgin olive oil

2 large cloves fresh garlic

Mattessons Smoked Sausage – we use the reduced fat version.

1 medium red onion

2 sticks celery

1 large yellow pepper

1 medium sized courgette

6 cherry tomatoes – or you could use baby plum tomatoes

8-10 mushrooms

Tomato puree

Balsamic vinegar

Florentino – dairy free pesto

Salt and pepper to season

Chopped all the vegetables into similar sized chunks.

Finely chop the garlic. Quarter the little tomatoes.

Chop the sausage into slightly bigger chunks or slices.

Put all together in a medium sized roasting dish.

Season with salt and black pepper.

Then pour over a good ‘glug’ of oil to coat the entire mixture.

Add several ‘squirts’ of a good tomato puree to coat the mixture, then stir in several large spoonfuls of the pesto. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, as it adds a sweetness to the onions as they roast.

Bake in the oven at about 180 degrees for about thirty minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. They are just as good very soft as they are with a bit of ‘bite’.

Then microwave your quinoa and serve them together. You could keep them side by side on your plate or even stir the quinoa into the mixture. It is great either way. Very quick and simple meal. Totally and naturally dairy free and gluten free. Enjoy.

There are photos on my website.

4 Replies

Wow.. This looks fab. I had a look at it and it stated suitable for Vegans and vegetarians but didn't specifically state suitable for coeliacs or gluten free.. This annoys me a wee bit as it's nowhere near as dangerous for a vegan to eat a little meat as it is for a coeliac to eat gluten..:(..anyway that's my wee tantrum over.

Thanks for this and I will defiantly look into it.


Very good point. The Merchant Gourmet site does not state that the quinoa product they sell is gluten free but everywhere I have looked up quinoa as a generic term, says it is naturally gluten free. But as we all know, that doesn't mean the manufacturers haven't done something to it to alter it. There is still some way to go with labelling isn't there? Perhaps just try another brand of quinoa - I imagine there must be some out there that have clearer labelling. Good luck and thanks for getting in touch. x


I love quinoa and use it instead of rice when I order in/make a curry. If you make it from scratch (dried), make sure you give it a really good rinse as it seems to affect the flavour. I know it used to be said that it was naturally coated in a soapy chemical (saponins) and you had to rinse it off. I think the more current processes remove this chemical, but even so, I think it tastes better if you rinse it really well before cooking. Enjoy!


Hi there, cous cous is semolina and if you look at gluten-free grains , it s not gluten free, this is why you still are having problems . only rice and tabioca

is gluten free. if you need a list of foods that are OK then google and you will find

lists of foods that are OK and foods that are not gluten free.


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